I had my first undefeated week last week, and it’ll probably be the last.
Last week: 6-0
Fresno Christian at Watsonville: The Wildcatz got a boost in morale with last week’s win, not to mention RB Roger Contreras running for a Santa Cruz County single-game rushing record in yards. That will help. I think the only thing that could knock Watsonville off track this week is homecoming and the distractions that come with it. Fresno Christian is giving up more than 44 points per game. Watsonville isn’t doing much better — 36 points — but the Catz have proven they can run wild on weak defenses. Pick: Watsonville.
Aptos at Soquel: The game of the week, with the winner in the driver’s seat to win the SCCAL title (SLV should have a say as well, but they haven’t gone through the upper-tier teams just yet). I don’t know who to pick in this game. My gut says Aptos, while my other gut says Soquel. This is going to be a hard-fought game where the team who scores last will probably win. Back-and-forth. I’m going to give a slight edge to Soquel, though. They’re coming off a bye and they have the best player on the field, Fabiano Hale. He’s going to have to be big in order for the Knights to win, and I expect he will be. Pick: Soquel.
Harbor at St. Francis: The Sharks have had difficulty stopping the run this season, and the Pirates have a back in Garrett Fonseca that could cause St. Francis fits. St. Francis is also shorthanded, which doesn’t help. If the Sharks can stop Fonseca, they’ll have a chance; they’ll have more than a chance. But that’s a big if. Pick: Harbor.
SLV at Scotts Valley: I’m picking Scotts Valley in this game, so my reasoning is based more on feeling than actual facts. Because on paper, the Cougars are expected to win this game, and they very well could. They’ve won five straight, they have a solid defense and an ever-improving offense behind Derek Poetzinger and Jason Bryson. But Scotts Valley has battled with each and every team they’ve faced this season (aside from probably the Texas team). Its one win isn’t reflective of how good they actually are. Heck, they came within 8 seconds of beating Soquel. As long as morale isn’t low due to the losses, I see the Falcons eking out a close victory here. I think they’ve been close every week, and this could be the time they get over the hump. What better time to do it than in a rivalry game? Pick: Scotts Valley.
Cabrillo at Hartnell: Another rivalry game — these tend to level the playing field a bit. Hartnell is the top offensive and defensive team in the Coast Conference; Cabrillo is No. 2 in both categories. In other words, this should be interesting. But the Seahawks are going to have to play a solid all-around game in order to upset the Panthers, like they did last year. They’re on the road, at Salinas High, which doesn’t help. Neither does Deandre Mann, who is averaging 120 yards per game rushing for Hartnell. I see this as another game that will be close, but I like Hartnell to avenge last season’s loss. Pick: Hartnell.
MVC vs. Pajaro Valley: The Mustangs are going to come out looking to do everything right in an effort to rid themselves of last week’s tough loss to Seaside. Pajaro Valley is, unfortuntely, the team that’s going to be in the way. Keep an eye on Grizzlies RB Anthony Cantrell, though. He’s only 188 yards shy of breaking the single-season rushing record at PV. Pick: MVC.